Tony John Cornfield was born October 10, 1943 at home in Cross Canyon (Ganado) Arizona to the proud parents of Tully Cornfield and Hazel Begay both from Cross Canyon, Arizona.
Tony was a Navajo Native born on the reservation. First clan: Toahani (near the water clan), second clan: Tacheenie (Red running into Water), third clan: Todich’ ii’ nii (Bitter water) Fourth clan: Tot’sohnii (Big Water Clan)
Tony spent most of his childhood helping his parents with the homestead, taking care of the farmland, helping his dad with the livestock, hauling water, irrigating the crops, and sheepherding with his mother and siblings. He was doing all the things a traditional young Navajo boy did on the reservation. He was a hard worker and a loyal son. He kept busy doing everything he could to help his parents.
Tony was one of ten children. He had one brother and eight sisters. We can imagine what fun that was for his parents. He attended school up to the eighth grade and later received his G.E.D. so he may fine a decent job. In 1964, at the age of 21, he met and married the love of his life, Rita Moreno Ahkeah from Shiprock, New Mexico. Rumor has it, they were introduced to each other by a mutual friend of theirs when Rita was attending business school in El Segundo, California. Rita became pregnant and close to her due date, she had asked Tony to stay back in California to work while she went home to Gallup, New Mexico to have the baby. She told him she would return after the baby was born. Of course, being the man that Tony was, he left everything behind and followed Rita to Gallup. They became young parents to a beautiful baby girl named Tammy Ann Cornfield who was born December 8, 1964. Shortly after, Tony moved his family to Rico, Colorado where they settled from 1964 to 1970. Tony started working for the Argentine Mining Company as a coal miner. Then the coal mine shut down. Tony switched to Uranium mining. He took employment with Union Carbide Uranium Mining Co. (UMETCO) Tony was a miner for most of his life until it started affecting his health, which forced him to seek other jobs to provide for his family. They relocated to Cortez, Colorado where he worked construction, and irrigation for IFA Country Store until his retirement.
Tony became a longtime resident of the Cortez community. He was an honorable and highly respected man. He had a quiet and gentle spirit, with a great big generous heart and tremendous faith. He attended the Cortez Seventh Day Adventist Church in Cortez with his wife Rita. They built great friendships over the years attending this community. Later in years, Tony and Rita raise another child, a son, who they had the blessing of naming at his birth. They named him Timothy Julius Yazzie, born August 7, 1978. Tony was a great mentor to all his nephews and nieces. He would consider them as his children too.
Tony’s hobbies were fishing along the Dolores River and Trout Lake. He enjoyed collecting scraps at the junkyard, hoping to create something useful and grand. He had a love for children, especially when he became a Grandpa, and his grandchildren always gravitated to him. Later it was found out that he was sneaking them candy. He was truly a devoted father, loving and faithful husband, joyful grandparent, and great grandparent, helpful brother, kind uncle, and a friend to many others. Tony and Rita were blessed as a couple celebrating a marriage of 56 years. He will be greatly missed. He always said that he won’t really be gone, he will be having the best sleep of this life and you will always have his spirit with you.
Tony John Cornfield passed away on January 20, 2021 at 12:09 am in Durango Colorado. Tony was preceded in death by his parents, Tully John Cornfield and Hazel Begay Cornfield both from Cross Canyon AZ; and his sister, Annie J. Benally of Cross Canyon, AZ. Surviving Tony are his wife, Rita Moreno Cornfield of Cortez, CO; his daughter, Tammy Ann Cornfield of Woodbridge, VA; his son, Timothy Julius Yazzie (fiancé Dantzelle) of Cortez CO; his siblings, Tom John Cornfield of Cross Canyon, AZ; Marie Haven of Cross Canyon, AZ, Rose Denetso of Kinlichee, AZ, Alice Dedman of Kinlichee, AZ, Irene Dedman of Nazlini, AZ, Mary Dedman of Ft. Defiance, AZ, Rita Cornfield of Kinlichee, AZ, Alta Dedman of Kinlichee, AZ; his grandchildren, Miriam Christine Barbour(Daniel) of Woodbridge VA, Caleb Micheal Randol (Alejandra) of Stanton, CA, Harmony Hummingbird Lopez of Cortez CO, Serenity Nizhoni - Dawn Yazzie of Cortez CO; his great grandchildren, Noah Maestro of Stanton, CA, Grayson Yiska Randol of Stanton, CA; and soon to be the first great granddaughter, Avery Hope Randol, due any day now, of Stanton CA; and many nieces and nephews.